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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom's Show-and-Tell Makes Dinner a Downer for Her Son

DEAR ABBY: My mother, who is a young 79 years old, has started eating like an old cow with bad teeth! She never closes her mouth any more when she eats; she chews with her mouth wide open, making smacking noises with each chew. It is very unappetizing to sit across from her at mealtime. Mom is active socially and goes to lunch and dinner with friends, and I wonder how many of them find her eating habits offensive.

Mom never ate like this before. In fact, when I was growing up, she often said, "Chew with your mouth closed!" Abby, I don't want to say anything to her because she doesn't take criticism well. I'm afraid if I said something to her, I'd get the silent treatment for about a week.

Maybe if she reads this in your column, she will recognize herself. I hope so, because not only is it unpleasant to sit across the table from her at dinnertime, I fear she will soon be excluded from lunch and dinner dates with her ladyfriends. -- A LOVING SON

DEAR SON: Don't wait for Mom to recognize herself in my column. Be a truly loving son and take her to a dentist who specializes in older adults.